Pakistani journalist faces terrorism and defamation charges for article critical of regional government

Authorities in Pakistan should drop charges against journalist Shabbir Siham, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan's northern Gilgit-Baltistan region summoned Siham for a hearing on October 7 on accusations of fabrication and extorting a regional minister in violation of Pakistan's Anti-Terrorism Act, according to news reports and to Saeed Ahmed, the manager of the Islamabad-based Journalist Safety Hub, which provides support and training to at-risk journalists. He also faces charges of defamation under the Pakistan Penal Code, the reports said. According to the news site Dawn, Gilgit-Baltistan…Read more

India: death threats against journalists by Hindu nationalists

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Indian authorities to identify and prosecute those responsible for the many death threats against journalists in the past two weeks and reminds Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government that the safety of journalists is a cornerstone of democracy and the rule of law. The targets of a wave of threats that began on 14 September include Deeksha Sharma, a journalist with the news website The Quint, who received several messages threatening her with rape and murder after she describe a rap video as “misogynist.” One of these…Read more

UK: Rudd’s plans to criminalise viewing of extremist content another threat to journalists

Reporters Without Borders  is deeply concerned by UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd's announcement on 2 October 2017 of plans to criminalise the viewing of extremist content. The new laws would reportedly see anyone "repeatedly" viewing extremist content online jailed for up to 15 years. Rudd's announcement was delivered during her keynote speech at the Conservative party conference in Manchester. "This will close an important gap in legislation", she stated. In responding to a question from a member of the audience, she said "I don't need to understand how encryption works to understand how…Read more

Anti-terror law used to silence critical media in Cameroon

Cameroon's broadly worded anti-terror law is being used by authorities to arrest and threaten local journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists found in a report released today. The report, Journalists Not Terrorists: In Cameroon, anti-terror legislation is used to silence critics and suppress dissent, finds that despite a presidential decree ending legal proceedings against at least four journalists, the law that was used against them is still in place as next year's elections approach. The anti-terror law, enacted to counter the extremist group Boko Haram, has been used to silence journalists who report…Read more

Murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh a devastating blow to freedom of expression

The murder of journalist, Gauri Lankesh, on 6 September is a devastating blow to freedom of expression, PEN International said, as it called for a full and impartial investigation into her killing. "Gauri Lankesh was a tireless campaigner for freedom, justice, human rights, and liberal values, and I had the privilege to have known her. She was courageous and graceful, and stood firm in support of the marginalised and the vulnerable. She fought divisiveness with words; her opponents had bullets. Her killers must be identified and tried according to law. Her work will…Read more

Camerawoman assaulted at Pacific Islands Forum

The Pacific Freedom Forum is calling on Pacific Islands Forum leaders to address the issue of over-zealous security officers, after a journalist was manhandled at the opening ceremony. "It was upsetting to hear that a colleague, trying to capture Samoa's traditional welcoming of Pacific island leaders, was manhandled by a policeman," says PFF Chair Monica Miller. Local and overseas journalists were edging up to the back corner of a tent, where some delegates were seated, to get out of the rain, when a police officer grabbed the journalist by the arm and tried…Read more

Uganda: Police officers stone journalists covering story on fire

Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda Police Officers at Katwe Police Station have today, 24 August 2017, stoned five journalists who were covering staff quarters that had caught fire at the police station. The journalists who were attacked are Nassaka Joweria (Kingdom TV), Ivan Mbadhi (BBS TV), Rachel Mabala (Daily Monitor) Carol Nakibule (Delta TV) and Muhumuza Julius of Dream TV. It is alleged that the fire which started at about 9:30am burnt six units and was a result of one electric coil that was being used for cooking in one of…Read more

“Daily Post” publishers ordered to pay US$180,000 in defamation suit

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) An Accra High Court has ordered the publishers of the Daily Post newspaper and its editor, Michael Dokosi, to pay an amount of GHC 800,000 (US$180,000) to a former Minister of State. The verdict follows an action for defamation brought by Hackman Owusu Agyemang, who is currently the Board Chairman of Ghana Cocoa Board, against the newspaper and one Mahama Haruna, an activist of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). Michael Dokosi was found guilty on July 25, 2017 of defaming the former minister and ordered to…Read more

UK: Poll shows that the press still wins the election debate

A YouGov poll for the London Press Club has shown that traditional news sources of newspapers and television remain more influential among voters than social media. The survey just carried out among 1,600 adults in Britain showed that 23 per cent of people said printed publications helped them choose who to vote for, compared to 18 per cent who believed social media swayed them. The results were revealed at a standing-room only London Press Club and Society of Editors debate at the Reuters building in Canary Wharf. Andrew Rawnsley, political columnist for the…Read more

Australia: Press freedom concerns with proposal to create super “Home Affairs” ministry

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), the union and industry advocate for Australia's journalists, is deeply concerned by the concentration of surveillance powers in a new super "Home Affairs" ministry without any adequate external oversight. MEAA believes the corralling of several government agencies with poor records for observing and respecting press freedom and transparency into one giant bureaucracy, raises profound concerns. MEAA chief executive officer Paul Murphy said: "Yesterday's announcement of a super ministry is deeply troubling for press freedom in Australia. Coming on the back of last week's announcement on encryption,…Read more